I did a great interview with this crazy man, Jeff Brown, and he got me thinking about the place where writing and fine art dovetail. You’ve seen me do it on occasion, when I’ve posted little paintings and sketches of things or characters, but I’ve barely considered WHY until now.
Sometimes, I need to have an image, or words, or a picture in my head to understand how I feel about something. Sketching a character tells me something about who I’m hoping he’ll be. Doodling a villain does pretty much the same thing.
I wanted to show you a great example of this in action as I develop a new idea.
The working title of this project used to be “Fluid Exchange,” but I was having real trouble trying to find a geographic setting that would meet my needs. Thanks to a friend in NYC, the location was settled. There’s an area of Staten Island called “Great Kills,” and that is so perfect for the book, I have to use it…but, how do I feel about it? What does that name add to the plot and tone?
I had to draw those words and see…a little obsessively. There are other sheets of paper laying around, trust me.
If you’re a movie buff, artist, or graphic designer, you might know where the style I’m trying to mimic comes from. If you’re a beer drinker, take a look at Flying Dog’s branding and labels. Familiar, isn’t it?
This is as close as I can get to the lettering of Ralph Steadman. I idolize him a little.
The words (in this style) are brutal, raw, and precisely what I need to help me sense the atmosphere I want to create. I can SEE this. More than that, I felt it while I used the brush to draw the letters. The action felt violent and dirty. Perfect!
Of course, there’s an added benefit to doing something like this: it might help a designer (whether it is me or someone else) create cover art that accurately reflects the manuscript.
Now, go out there and buy a copy of “Manleigh Cheese!”